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Changing Theologies

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Dr. Linda Seger is author of Jesus Rode a Donkey: Why the Republicans Don’t Have a Corner on Christ 

 On April 20, 2007, the Pope changed a long-standing Catholic theology that said babies who died without being baptized go to Limbo. The new theology now says that there is hope that maybe, just maybe, these babies can now go to heaven. Since there is nothing about unbaptized babies and Limbo in the Bible, it was, perhaps, time to give the babies some hope.

As long as we’re in the season for changing theologies, there are a few others that we could change as well.

Old Theology: Blessed are the warriors for Christ, for they are doing God’s and our Nation’s will. Jesus’ teachings on peace are not to be taken seriously because Jesus said “I came not to bring Peace, but a sword,” (Matthew 10:34) so we should be taking up our swords in His name.

New Theology: “Blessed are the Peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44-45). The Holy Spirit and War are at odds with each other. We can’t proclaim peace while hating and killing. Spiritual people everywhere will now commit ourselves to learning how to become blessed peacemakers. We will study peace and conflict resolution. We will fund a Peace Academy and further fund the Peace-making and Peace-keeping studies at the Army War College (yes, they do exist there!). We will talk to our enemies and study and learn diplomacy. We will look to history and not repeat all of the same mistakes that take their toll in money and lives without resulting in true peace. We will believe that far more Peace is possible.

Old Theology: Although Jesus, and most religious leaders, tell us to help the poor and care for the Poor, many Christians interpret this to mean we are to do charitable works as individuals and as organizations, but not as nations.

New Theology: Since there are over 600 verses in the Bible that tell us a nation will be judged by how it shows mercy and justice to the poor, we will start learning to be Blessed Peacemakers. (Luke 4, Amos 2, Isaiah 10, Micah 3, Ezekiel 22, etc.) Yes, we will respect the wealthy, but we will also recognize that no one succeeds alone, and that much wealth is made at the expense of the poor and middle class. We will start helping poor children, through better school lunch programs, health care, access to education (which is one of the best ways out of poverty), child care for fathers and mothers who must, or want to, work. We’ll empower mothers and fathers to get out of poverty through job training. We will talk to, listen to, help, and care about the poor.

Old Theology: The Creation is ours to conquer and dominate.

New Theology: We are called to care and cultivate the Creation (Genesis 2). We will now become responsible stewards. We’ll stop destroying the land and start doing small, and big, things to care for the environment. We’ll take global warming seriously -" even if it’s not as serious as some scientists predict, and even if it’s more serious than anyone knows. We’ll become leaders, rather than using our power and wealth to pollute the world. We’ll change our light-bulbs, fund and buy hybrid cars, develop new and clean methods of energy to preserve, and conserve the creation. We will stop thinking of short term gain at the expense of long term care for the creation.

Old Theology: Lying is o.k. if we do if for National Security, to protect our soldiers, to get more oil, to preserve the position of rulers who say they are only doing it for the good of the Nation.

New Theology: We will now take the Commandment seriously: “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. We will recognize the deadly human and financial costs of lies, fudging, spin, deception, half-truths, and corruption. We will ask all those in the US government who claim to be religious (about 99% of them) to start taking honesty and truth-telling seriously. We will ask our government to be accountable, responsible, and to have the integrity they keep professing they have. We will choose not to encourage and collude with governments that support and represent intolerance, hatred, hypocrisy, dishonesty, self-righteousness and the misuse of power. But we will not protest these governments by using the same tactics they use, but by believing that Good is stronger and more powerful than evil. Love and Justice are stronger, more powerful, and more workable than venomous hatred. And that Unity and Peace are able, with much, much practice, to overcome divisiveness and war.

It is time to start studying, learning, and working toward our new theologies.

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Dr. Linda Seger is an internationally known author, keynote speaker and seminar leader on spirituality. Dr. Linda Seger has a broad religious background. She grew up Lutheran and did several years of spiritual seeking in her 20s. She became a (more...)

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